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Coat of arms of Aix-en-Provence
Aix-en-Provence (France)
region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Department Bouches-du-Rhône
Arrondissement Aix-en-Provence
Canton Aix-en-Provence-1
Community association Métropole d'Aix-Marseille-Provence
Coordinates 43 ° 32 '  N , 5 ° 27'  E Coordinates: 43 ° 32 '  N , 5 ° 27'  E
height 73-501 m
surface 186.08 km 2
- Unité urbaine
142,482 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 766 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 13100, 13090
INSEE code

Town hall with bell tower

Template: Infobox municipality in France / maintenance / different coat of arms in Wikidata

Aix-en-Provence [ ˌɛksɑ̃pʀɔˈvɑ̃s ] is a French university town in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and the historic capital of Provence . The city covers an area of ​​18,608 hectares. Around 40,000 of the 142,482 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017) who are called Aixois are students. As a sub-prefecture of the department, Aix , as the city is known for short, is the capital of the arrondissement of the same name .

Aix is ​​the seat of a Catholic archbishop . The episcopal church is the Saint-Sauveur (Holy Savior) cathedral (see below). See also Archdiocese of Aix and List of Archbishops of Aix .



Aix is ​​located 15 approximately west of the Sainte-Victoire mountain in a depression formed by the Arc and Torse rivers .

With an urban area of ​​18,608 ha, Aix is ​​the eleventh largest municipality in metropolitan France . However, the municipal area includes a large number of villages in the vicinity such as Les Milles , Luynes , Puyricard , Célony , Couteron , Les Granettes and the newest settlement La Duranne . 6,219 ha of the area are considered to be forested.


The climate is Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and mild, sunny winters. The hills in the north ( Luberon and Trévaresse) offer a certain protection from the dreaded Mistral . The mean temperature fluctuates between 6.5 ° C in January and 24 ° C in July. Occasionally the temperature drops below freezing in winter and rises above 40 ° C in summer. The geographic location in a depression is a disadvantage here as the cold air remains trapped. Violent thunderstorms are possible in autumn. Large amounts of snowfall in winter are rare but not impossible.


The distance to Marseille and the nearest Mediterranean beaches is around 30 minutes by car. Regional trains run every half hour on the Aix-Marseille route. From outside the city (near the Marseille airport) train from the Aix-en-Provence TGV is Paris via LGV Méditerranée reached in two hours and 40 minutes. There is also a direct TGV connection from Frankfurt am Main via Mannheim , Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden .

The Aérodrome d'Aix-Les Milles , formerly a military airfield , the Base Aerienne 114 d'Aix-Les Milles , is only of minor importance.

Population development

year 1800 1851 1901 1954 1999 2017
Residents 21.009 27,255 29,418 54,217 133,018 142,482
Sources: Cassini and INSEE

The steady population growth since the 19th century is mainly due to the immigration of parts of the rural population ( rural exodus ) as a result of the phylloxera crisis in viticulture and the increasing mechanization of agriculture .



Foundation of Aix by Sextius Calvinus (Joseph Villevieille, 1900).

In the fourth century BC, the southern West Province was ruled by Celtic - Ligurian tribes. The Salluvian tribe lived in the Aix area and declared the nearby oppidum Entremont to be their capital. The Greeks settled in Massalia lived peacefully with the locals for a long time, teaching them parts of their highly developed culture. In the 2nd century BC However, they felt increasingly threatened by the neighboring tribal alliance and called the allied Romans for help. The proconsul Gaius Sextius Calvinus occupied 123 BC. Chr. Provence and let Entremont destroy. The campaign also served to secure the overland route to the Spanish province . To consolidate Roman rule in the conquered area, Calvinus built a rampart around a well-known thermal spring a year later and thus founded the first Roman city on Gallic soil, Colonia Aquae Sextiae Salluviorum . The current name Aix developed from this name .

The province of Gallia Narbonensis developed around the city , the capital of which from 118 BC. Chr. But the Colonia Narbo Martius was. At the foot of Mont St. Victoire in the vicinity of the city, it occurred in 102 BC. For the famous battle of Aquae Sextiae , in which the Roman army under the command of General Marius defeated the Teutons and Ambrones . The victory was very well received by the local population, which earned Marius the title of “Son of the Country” for a long time among the Provencal people. Due to its convenient location on the Via Aurelia , the city grew very quickly and became a popular health resort thanks to its healing thermal springs . Aquae Sextiae developed into a Roman colony under Emperor Augustus , 15th BC. Chr. , The inhabitants were given the Roman citizenship .

In Aquae Sextiae an inscription was found for an otherwise unknown god Accorus .

Residence of the counts and the "good king René"

King René .

Thanks to the imperial reform of Emperor Diocletian , Aquae Sextiae rose to become the capital of the province of Narbonensis Secunda in the 3rd century and thus competed with the powerful neighboring city of Arles . It was only quite late, towards the end of the 4th century, that the city developed into a bishopric . After her rise to the archbishopric in Carolingian times, the suffragans Sisteron , Apt , Riez and Fréjus were subordinate to her . In the period that followed, she was exposed to repeated Germanic and Saracen attacks, which led to severe destruction. At the beginning of the twelfth century, the city was the capital of Provence. The counts of Provence ruled in Aix from 1182 as vassals of the German emperor and founded an exquisite arts and literature court. In the area of ​​today's town hall and palace of justice, the Ville Comtale , the "Count's City", was built. The counts granted the rising bourgeoisie the right to self-government. In the following two hundred years, Aix suffered severe setbacks from plundering robber barons and the black plague of 1348. After Louis of Anjou was not recognized as the legitimate successor of Queen Johanna, he besieged the city and, after taking it, had a large part of the city destroyed.

Already under Raimund Berengar V and two successive houses of the Anjou the city experienced an upswing. The city area doubled. Ludwig II rewarded Aix in 1409 with the establishment of the University of Aix , as the city finally recognized the younger house of Anjou . However, it only reached its heyday at the end of the fifteenth century under the rule of the "good king René" , who chose Aix as his retirement home in 1471. Under René, the city developed into an important economic and cultural center. He was considered a patron of numerous artists, such as Nicolas Froment , who contributed to the beautification of the city through their work. He entertained the court and the people with festivals, games and knight tournaments. With his death in 1480, the glamorous era of Aix came to an end. Count Karl of Maine bequeathed the previously independent county to the French crown.

Golden Age and Resurrection

Cours Mirabeau around 1792.

Despite the demotion to the provincial capital, the city remained relatively autonomous and enjoyed many privileges as the seat of the royal governor. In 1501 Louis XII created in Aix the Parlement de Provence , a supreme court from which the provincial government was run. The Parlement was not very popular with the population and, together with the Rhone and the Mistral, was considered a scourge of Provence. In 1546 the city was struck by a terrible plague, which is said to have been so bad that it was given the name Charbon provençal ("Provencal coal"), because the affected became as black as coal after a few days. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Aix lived a golden age and was considered a city of festivals and debauchery during that period. Large magnificent avenues such as the Cours Mirabeau were laid out and magnificent city palaces were built. The Mazarin quarter was built in 1646 with the noble baroque residences of the nobles and parliamentarians who still characterize the cityscape today. On September 27, 1790 , the parliament met for the last time before it was dissolved. Several years later, Aix was downgraded to a sub-prefecture .

With the rise of Marseille to the regional center and capital of the newly created Bouches-du-Rhône department, Aix lost its political influence and its importance as a university town. The university founded by Ludwig II lost some of its faculties. The parliament was converted into a courthouse. The city continued to attract artists, poets and writers. Aix was largely spared from the Second World War . In the 1950s and 1960s , the city began to be awakened, which had been in a kind of slumber since the 19th century . After the Algerian War and the country's independence, many French Algerians ( pieds noirs ) who had returned to France settled in Aix, as in other cities in the south , followed by Muslim immigrants from the Maghreb states . The population therefore grew rapidly and large housing estates emerged on the outskirts. The city became a magnet for students. From 1970, high-tech settlements developed at the university. In addition, the city carried out a renovation of the old town that was conducive to tourism.

The Festival d'Aix-en-Provence has been held every summer since 1948 .

Culture and sights

Old town

Male Rhône and female Durance on the gable of the former grain hall

The old town is divided into a Roman and a medieval city center. Central contact points are the Cathédrale St-Sauveur and the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville . Via the Rue Espariat you first come to the Hôtel Boyer d'Éguilles , built in 1675, which houses the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle with its fossilized dinosaur eggs. Diagonally opposite the entrance is the Place d'Albertas , which is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Aix and which was built in 1745 by a family of parliamentarians as a private terrace. In summer, the facades serve as a backdrop for concerts (Aix en Musique). Rue Aude and Rue Maréchal Foch lead to Place Richelme , where a vegetable market takes place every morning. On the other hand, on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville further north, there is a flower market. The gable of the former grain hall from the 18th century is adorned with personified representations of the male Rhône and the female Durance . Today the Kornhalle is used by the post office and the library. On the west side of the town hall square is the Hôtel de Ville , built between 1655 and 1671 with a baroque facade. The paved inner courtyard can be reached through a beautiful forged gate. The adjacent Tour de l'Horloge served as the city gate and was built on Roman foundations. An astronomical clock strikes in the clock tower from 1510 . The Town Hall Square and the adjacent Place des Cardeurs with its handsome ceramic fountain are lined with many cafés that serve as popular meeting places for students.

The rue Gaston de Saporta leads to the Roman district, where the local history museum is housed in the Hôtel d'Estiennes de St-Jean. A little further north is the former archbishop's palace from the 17th century. Every summer, its inner courtyard is the venue for the international Festival d'Aix-en-Provence . Adjacent to the palace are the Saint-Sauveur cathedral with cloister and early Christian baptistery, as well as the former law school. The thermal springs Les Thermes Sextius, which were already known by the Romans, are located at the western end of the old town in a bath complex that was completely redesigned in 1990 .

In the eastern part of the old town is the imposing Palais de Justice , which replaced the castle of the Provence counts at the end of the 18th century . Not far from the Palace of Justice designed by Claude-Nicolas Ledoux is the Église de la Madeleine . The church is a baroque building and contains the famous triptych of the Annunciation . The unknown master of the work is probably the Flemish painter Barthélemy d'Eyck .

Cours Mirabeau and Quartier Mazarin

Cours Mirabeau

The splendid street Cours Mirabeau south of the old town is named after the writer and politician Count Gabriel-Honoré de Mirabeau , who was elected in 1789 by the citizens of the city as a member of the Third Estate in the Estates General . The plane tree avenue was laid out in 1649 instead of the old city wall as a promenade for carriages and represents the connection between the "Mazarin quarter" in the south and the old town in the north. The Mazarin quarter was laid out in the 17th century by Bishop Michel Mazarin as a checkerboard Residential district designed for the Aixer nobility. Worth seeing are the Hôtel de Caumont , which houses the Darius Milhaud Conservatory, the Place des Quatre Dauphins with the dolphin fountain from 1667 and the Musée Paul Arbaud with its collection of Provençal faiences .

Café Les Deux Garçons
Fountain of the four dolphins

As the main axis of the city, the Cours Mirabeau is bounded by the two fountains Fontaine du Roi René in the east and the Fontaine de La Rotonde in the west. The Rotonde Fountain was built in 1860 and is crowned by three statues depicting Justice (looking down the Cours Mirabreau), Agriculture (looking towards Marseille) and the Fine Arts (looking towards Avignon). The south side of the Cours Mirabeau is lined with elegant noble houses and old hotels from the 17th and 18th centuries with richly decorated entrance portals and wrought iron balconies. On the opposite side, upscale shops, bookstores and cafes are lined up. The most famous café is that of the Deux Garçons , which was considered a meeting place for many famous writers and artists such as Émile Zola , Paul Cézanne, Jean Giraudoux , Blaise Cendrars and Jean Cocteau . At the end of the Cours Mirabeau there is also the Church of the Mission and Convent of the Oblate Missionaries . The former Carmelite convent is the founding place of the Congregation of the Oblates. Saint Eugene of Mazenod , whose birthplace is also on Cours Mirabeau, founded the community in 1816.

For the French, Aix is ​​one of the cities with the highest quality of life. In particular, the focus on art and culture as well as the range of bars and discos for students make the city so attractive. The calissons are also famous .

Sacred buildings

Facade of the cathedral on the Place de l'Université

The Saint-Sauveur Cathedral on the Place de l'Université is the episcopal church of the Archdiocese of Aix . It was constantly being rebuilt and expanded and therefore combines a wealth of architectural styles. It has a late Gothic , richly structured facade construction. Jean Guiramand created a main portal with plastic representations of the prophets of Israel and the Sibyls . The door frames are lined with buttresses decorated with niches and pinnacles . The campanile was built in 1323 and consists of two structures that taper towards the top, the upper one having an octagonal floor plan. Inside there is an early Christian baptistery from around the year 400 and a Romanesque cloister . One of the greatest treasures is an altarpiece made for King René in 1476. The cathedral has had the title of a papal minor basilica since 1875 . In the same year the cultural monument was classified as a monument historique .

The church of Saint Jean-de-Malte , built with a Latin cross plan in the 13th century over an older previous building, is the oldest Gothic church in Provence and thus one of the city's most interesting sights. It was first mentioned in a document in 1235, 15 years before it was consecrated. The transept is slightly younger. It houses the graves of several Provencal counts. Initially, it was the church on Malta -based St John (hence the name) and served as a hospital church. The associated hospital was on the site of what is now the Granet Museum. The church's 67-meter-high bell tower is the highest point in the city and can be seen from a great distance. The interior of the church surprises with its brightness, because the daylight is intensified by the very light walls of the church. In addition to the contemporary organ, the windows and some paintings are also worth seeing. Among them, the “Crucifixion” by Eugène Delacroix receives the most attention. Since 1978 the church has hosted a community of apostolic monks who report directly to the bishop. It serves as a parish church.

Cultural institutions

Grand Théâtre de Provence

In a quarter to the west of the Place de la Rotonde, several cultural institutions were built in close proximity to one another. They are connected by a wide pedestrian promenade, the Avenue Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A bridge with which this leads over a main road was designed on the north side in 2008 by Patrick Blanc as a plant wall (Mur végétal) and on the south side in 2014 by Christian Ghion as a water wall (Mur d'eau).

North of the Avenue Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the Grand Théâtre de Provence , the opera and concert hall of Aix-En-Provence. It was designed by Italian architects Vittorio Gregotti and Paolo Colao and opened in 2007.

Conservatoire Darius Milhaud

Opposite the Grand Théâtre is the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud , the conservatory of Aix-En-Provence. It was designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and opened in 2013.

To the west of the Darius Milhaud Conservatory is the Pavillon Noir , the ballet house of Aix-En-Provence. It was designed by the Italian architect Rudy Ricciotti and opened in 2013.

South of the Darius Milhaud Conservatory and the Pavillon Noir is the Cité du Livre, a small “book town”. A modern cultural center and the Bibliothèque Méjanes , which contains around 450,000 documents, are housed in a former match factory . Most of them belong to the public cultural property, including 2,110 manuscripts, 360 incunabula and more than 6,000 graphics. The Book of Hours of King René I , self-made with drawings by him, one of the most valuable printing units. Albert Camus' estate is also administered here. Cultural events such as art exhibitions and cinema screenings also take place in the matchstick factory.


Entrance portal of the Gobelin Museum (former Archbishop's Palace).

The Musée Granet , built in 1765, is one of the richest and oldest museums in France and is located next to the church of Saint Jean-de-Malte in the old priory of the Order of Malta. The archaeological collection shows finds from Roman times and Celtoligur remains from Entremont. The painting collection includes works by Rubens, Jean Dominique Ingres , Henri Matisse , Fernand Léger , Paul Cézanne and François Marius Granet .

In 1910, the Musée des Tapisseries was established on the first floor of the former Archbishop's Palace. An extensive collection of tapestries is exhibited in the museum. You can see tapestries, woven theater backdrops , as well as contemporary textile art and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Pavilion de Vendôme

The Pavillon de Vendôme outside the boulevard ring is a baroque aristocratic palace and was designed in 1665 by the architect Antoine Matisse on behalf of the Duke of Vendôme . The richly decorated facade shows all three classical column orders (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian). Inside are furniture from the time of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV , as well as works by the painter Jean-Baptiste van Loo .

The Musée d'Histoire Naturelle was founded in the 19th century and is located in the patrician house Hôtel Boyer d'Éguilles . The collections known among experts include dinosaur fossils and fossilized dinosaur eggs that were found at the foot of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire . Oversized skeletal reconstructions can also be seen.

In the small local museum, Musée du Vieil Aix , the history, folk art and customs of the city are presented. Antique Provencal furniture , clothing and historical everyday objects are on display . The building is housed in a beautiful aristocratic palace from the 17th century.

Atelier Cézanne is located a little north of the old town on a hill . On the upper floor of the light-flooded house there is a single room in which an attempt was made to recreate the painter's working atmosphere. A path leads north from the studio and leads to the Terrain des Peintres . Many views of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire were taken from there. The picturesque path continues over the Chemin de la Marguerite to the Oppidum.

In the suburb of Les Milles , a memorial commemorates the Camps des Milles , an internment camp of the Vichy regime for “hostile” foreigners, mostly Jewish Germans. Of these, around 2000, including children, were extradited to the German Gestapo for deportation to Auschwitz in 1942 .

Vasarely Foundation

The Fondation Vasarely is a museum located west of Aix, which is exclusively dedicated to the works of the artist Victor Vasarely . In addition to pictures from all of Vasarely's creative periods, it also contains monumental works and installations that introduce the artist's work.

Oppidum Entremont

Oppidum Entremont

About 3 km north of the city center on a limestone plateau are the ruins of a Celtoligur oppidum. The ancient settlement originated in the 3rd century BC. BC and was the capital of the Salluvians. Due to its strategic location, it was built in the 2nd century BC. Expanded into a mighty fortress, but as early as 123 BC. Chr. Destroyed by Romans.

The settlement extended over an area of ​​about 3.5 hectares and was surrounded by a city wall with defensive towers, which formed the shape of an irregular triangle. A dividing wall inside divided the settlement area into an upper and a lower town. The lower town was populated by farmers and craftsmen, in the upper town there is a sanctuary and houses for the upper class. Celtic weapons, jewelry and ceramics and the Celtic name of the king Teutomalius indicate that a Ligurian people were ruled by a Celtic upper class in the city.

The oppidum was not only created for defensive purposes, but also served as a religious and economic center for the Celts. After the Greek branch in Marseille, it is also the first urban settlement in Gaul .


City government

Maryse Joissains Masini ( LR ) has been Mayor of Aix since 2001 . She was re-elected in 2007 and 2009. From the elections to the city council in 2008, the UMP (today: LR) emerged as the strongest force with 40 seats. They are followed by the socialists with twelve seats. An independent list received three seats.

coat of arms

Description: In gold, four red stakes under a shield head with three places . Right in silver a golden krückenkreuziges Jerusalem Cross , left in blue with red board five staggered rows sprinkled golden lilies and centered in blue, a red fünfstegiger tournament collar on the five staggered rows with sprinkled gold lilies.

Twin cities

Partnership or friendship also exist with the two US cities


sons and daughters of the town

Statue of Raimund Berenger V.
Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)
Darius Milhaud around 1926
Rémi Pauriol

Close ties with Aix

  • Laurent Imbert (1796–1839), Catholic missionary and saint, studied in Aix-en-Provence.
  • Émile Zola (1840-1902) grew up in Aix and was a classmate of Paul Cézanne, with whom he became friends.
  • The philosopher Maurice Blondel (1861–1949) lived in Aix-en-Provence for over 50 years.
  • Benjamin Graham (1894–1976), American economist
  • Victor Vasarely (1906–1997), French painter of Hungarian origin


Web links

Commons : Aix-en-Provence  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Aix-en-Provence  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Aix-en-Provence  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Giovanna Magi: Provence. 1982, p. 5.
  2. a b c d Stefan Brandenburg, Ines Mache: Provence. 6th edition. 2008, pp. 434-436.
  3. ^ A b Droste: Provence. 7th edition. 2011, 231-232.
  4. ^ Cony Ziegler: Provence with Camargue. 2nd Edition. 2009, pp. 433-434.
  5. Stefan Brandenburg, Ines Mache: Provence. 6th edition. 2008, p. 437.
  6. ^ Cony Ziegler: Provence with Camargue. 2nd Edition. 2009, p. 437.
  7. ^ Giovanna Magi: Provence. 1982, pp. 6-7.
  8. ^ Giovanna Magi: Provence. 1982, pp. 7-11.
  9. ^ Giovanna Magi: Provence. 1982, pp. 11-12.
  10. ^ Cony Ziegler: Provence with Camargue. 2009, 2nd edition. P. 443.
  11. Stefan Brandenburg, Ines Mache: Provence. 6th edition. 2008, p. 443.
  12. The Oppidum of Entremont - Architecture and Settlement, Settlement 2 , accessed on November 12, 2011.
  13. ^ A b Stefan Brandenburg, Ines Mache: Provence. 6th edition. 2008, pp. 441-443.
  14. ^ Website Aix: les jumelages ( Memento of December 11, 2015 in the Internet Archive )